At around 10pm last evening, there was suddenly more honking than usual on Via España, outside our condo. We’re used to beeps, car alarms (oh the car alarms), muffled thuds, and the grumble of buses. But this noise went on for quite awhile.

It turns out that Panama has won the right to enter the World Cup competition for the first time in their team’s history, and people were ecstatic. The honking and partying continuing well into the morning (4am, if my bloodshot eyes read the phone correctly), but good for them. Compared with the poor ol’ USA team (their first no-admittance into the World Cup since 1986, I hear) it’s about time they had their shot. It’s a tiny country with a fiercely proud people, and they have every right to be.

This morning I was out volunteering in Chorillo with the English Language tutoring for the intercity kids, and boy, did I get my face rubbed in it (teasingly, I think). The kids shout their Spanish quite rapidly so I needed to have them repeat their ribbing of the USA’s team several times before I understood that my beloved soccer team was being drubbed. Oh well…better luck next year.

The president of Panama even declared a national holiday – all public schools and public business to be suspended. They sure do love futbol here!